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20:20 Vision at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Fall Rally


By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Twice each year the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) produces new vehicle driving programs for its members. I’m one of those members and just recently participated in the MAMA Fall Rally held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois. Autobahn is a private performance driving facility with a member’s clubhouse, garages, a race track, a karting track as well as an off-road course. Various private and public events are held there throughout the year.

This recent 2019 MAMA Fall Rally featured around 50 of the auto industry’s newest products. Here’s a glimpse towards 2020 and some of my favorites.

2020 Ford Escape

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The Escape is all new. Completely redone. Very much redefined. It’s offered in S, SE, SE Sport, SEL and Titanium trims. Prices range from $24,885 to $33,400. Escape will come with a choice of three engines, including a hybrid. Front-wheel or optional all-wheel drive is available.

The base engine is a 1.5-liter, 3-cylinder Ecoboost rated at 181 horsepower. The hybrid features a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine combined with an electric motor for a total system output of 200 horsepower. This is the base engine for the SE Sport and Titanium trims. And, a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder Ecoboost engine rated 250 horsepower is optional in the SEL and Titanium trims and only be available with all-wheel drive.

The 2020 Ford Escape rides very much like a family sedan and yet has the utility of an SUV. Legroom, both front and rear, is generous. It’s loaded with safety tech. I’m calling it the new definition of the “family car.”

2020 Lincoln Aviator

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A new three-row SUV from this premium brand. It oozes comfort and luxury. Prices start at $52,195, including a $1,095 destination charge, for a base rear-wheel drive model.

The standard engine is a 3.0-L V6 rated at 400 horsepower. The optional plug-in hybrid is the performance engine rated at 494 horsepower. It uses the same V6 and adds an electric motor. Yes, it’s higher performance with lower fuel consumption.

The cabin is richly appointed with visually pleasing surface finishes and quality materials. A large multimedia touchscreen and a complete array of safety features are there for you. I love the soft opening doors with a simple squeeze release button on the outside handle.

Ride and handling are refined and confident. The high-end Black Label trim is elegant. This new entry from Lincoln in the luxury SUV segment will turn heads.

2020 Cadillac XT6.

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A new three-row SUV from GMs premium brand that’s not based on a truck platform. The Premium Luxury trim is priced at $53,320 and the Sport priced at $57,720.

Seating is either for seven or eight passengers. All versions of the new XT6 share a 3.6-liter V-6 making 310 horsepower. Front-wheel and all-wheel drive are offered.’

Premium Luxury and Sport models offer more customized looks with unique exterior and interior distinction. A Platinum package is available on both and loads the XT6 up with all the goodies. Finally we have a large SUV from Cadillac with decent ride quality.

2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition

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This two-seater screams road trip. Plenty powerful around a race track with its 565-HP and yet refined and comfortable for every day street driving. A paddle shifted six-speed dual clutch transmission puts the power to the electronically controlled all-wheel drive system.

I drove the GT-R on the track and it’s fast and confident. But, a part of what’s special about this premium package is how comfortable it is on road. It offered in only three different exterior colors combinations each with a grey interior.

It’s a supercar you can drive everyday. It’s only $125,000.

2020 Toyota GS Supra

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Born from a partnership with BMW, the Supra returns from its long absence dating from 1998. Based on the BMW Z4 but built as a coupe. Loads of fun on the track. It’s very nimble and likes to be pushed hard.

Powering the Supra is BMW’s turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder cranking out 335 horsepower. The only transmission is an eight-speed automatic. For a two seater it’s not too cramped in the cabin and the driving position is quite comfortable.

For around $50K it can be all yours.

So there’s a bit of a 20:20 look into what’s coming for 2020. Lot’s of good choices. There are no bad cars, as we fortunately can say today.

© 2019 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy